JUST OUTSIDE OF ASHEVILLE, NC – Don’t ask how I ended up in the woods of North Carolina with a whole house full of in-laws at the end of June. That case is better left unsolved. Let’s just say that my presence in these wild and desolate parts would be something akin to NYC’s famed Pizza Rat having a cameo in the movie Deliverance, and leave it at that. I told management I was not going to contribute this week. Like always, they would NOT take “f**k off” for an answer. I’m getting my sports updates unevenly, as spotty WiFi allows, but think I can manage to cobble something together.
What’s deBig Deal? So, the Mets stupidly deCided to start deGrom Monday night. On that same night the umps, per MLB directive, decided to strip search him for “sticky stuff.” He responded with 5 innings, 6 strikeouts and an unforgivable 2 walks en route to another win. Oh, he was also found to be clean of foreign substances. His ERA is now 0.50. No matter what happens with the rest of his career, I hope history remembers this “lightning in a bottle” talent the same way it did Sandy Koufax and Gayle Sayers.
Defensive Storylines. In NFL news, defensive lineman are blitzing the headlines this week. First, Raiders’ defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay. That makes him the first “active” player to do this. Whatever his motivation (he said he’s at a good and “comfortable” point in his life), timing, etc., GOOD… FOR… HIM! Oh, he also donated $100k to a LGBTQ suicide prevention organization. In other not-so-uplifting stories, Chiefs DE Frank Clark was arrested in LA for having an Uzi in his car (quite sure Cam James is fine with this) and Vikings rookie defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman was shot (4 TIMES!) in Washington D.C. in what his agent Drew Rosenhaus dismissed as simply “wrong place, wrong time.” Wow! Um, anyway, I’ll take the Nassib storyline 100 times out of 100.
Minor League Baseball! As I sit here writing this, there are gray skies and a steady rain falling. But my never-trusty iPhone weather app says it’s all supposed to clear out by 2. Hope it’s right this time, because we’ve got tickets to go see an Asheville Tourists game tonight. Asheville is a pretty cool town (been there once before), so we hope to get in early, pregame at one of the breweries, and then go see the team where Crash Davis concluded his career. I’m really looking forward to it. Despite MLB’s decision to downsize, I love everything about minor league ball. Will try to add more about the experience in comments here later.
Okay, that should do it for today. Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, who was/is a Harlem Shaskys lifer.